beaune
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:02 pm
Location: Prescott, AZ

Winterizing Hydrangea

I am looking for some first time advice as I have never grown Hydrangea's before. I purchase a Queen's lace in early spring and potted it in a large pot. It grew and bloomed beautifully. We have now had several 'small' frosts and it is showing damage to some of the new leaves and buds. I intend to keep this plant potted next season and I am looking for advice for winterizing.

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Place something over the pot to insulate it. Leaves work great but, a burlap sac would work.

You've probably already had your first frost so, it's to late to play with the soil but, after the spring thaw add some mulched leaves and/or cocoa bean hulls to the soil along with some manure, coffee ground, and/or some other greens.

Also, if you can find it purchase some rock phosphate and add that to the soil. If someone tells you to use you regular NPK salts (aka fertilizer) ignore them and don't use these products.

Yes, they provide your plant with Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium but, they break down soil structure, give the plants these nutrients in one blast and do not allow the plant the ability to regulate what nutrients it requires, these chemical fertilizer also kill beneficial soil biota.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

luis_pr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 815
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Many people up north will move the potted hydrangeas into a structure where the shrub is somewhat protected from the cold temperatures and the desiccating winds. Garages are one example. They do this when the plant has gone dormant; if there is a chance of a warm spell followed by sudden dips well below freezing; or if the average date of first frost approaches (ask your local nurseries and then take action 2-3 weeks before; or visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/wrh/techMemos/TM-274.pdf). Sudden dips are the worst as they can kill buds if the plant is fooled into staying in 'growth' mode while the really cold sub-freezing temperatures approach. Gradual slow swings are ok on the flower buds.

I do not have potted hydrangeas but once in the last 30 years, that happened. The temperatures stayed warm, in the 70s, thru mid-December. Then we got a week of freezing temperatures. In this area, hardly anyone winter protects so lots of plants and trees were injured. The hydrangea stems and roots were not affected but I ended with only 2 flowers the next Spring.

While stored in the garage, the plant will need some moisture but not as frequent as before. I would water between once a week to once every two weeks so the soil feels moist when I insert a finger to a depth of 4". Feel free to adjust things to your drier weather since you will barely get 2" of moisture monthly for the next 4-6 months.

As far as when to bring them indoors, use several things to help you decide: the 10-day forecast in www.weather.com can serve as a warning of possible future sudden dips; the average date of first frost for your area (be ready 2-3 weeks before that); observe measures taken by local gardeners; and ask local garden clubs too.

I bring my tropical plants inside in stages as some are hardier than others. I also need to “scheduleâ€

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